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Fischer Unveils Healthy Louisville 2020

Wednesday February 19, 2014

Goal is to Significantly Improve the City’s Health; Fischer Proposes Ban on Sale of E-Cigarettes, Hookah Products to Minors 

Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness today unveiled Healthy Louisville 2020, a comprehensive plan to significantly improve the city’s health over the next six years.

“One of the top priorities of my administration is to improve the health of our citizens. Yet a recent report by the Greater Louisville Project ranked Louisville only 10th among peer cities in health,” said Fischer. “Improving our city’s health will directly improve our quality of life, prosperity and competitiveness. Healthy Louisville 2020 is a roadmap to get us there.”

Fischer also took the first action steps in addressing some key goals. He announced that Metro Council members Vickie Aubrey Welch, Mary Woolridge and Marilyn Parker would be introducing legislation on his behalf that bans the sale of e-cigarettes and herbal shisha, a smoking product used at the city's hookah bars, to minors.

“We fully support this legislation,” Fischer said.

The report contains data on key health indicators such as local rates of cancer mortality, chronic disease, tobacco use, low birth weight babies and obesity. It lays out specific goals to improve health in Louisville by the year 2020. Some of these goals include:
 
  • Decreasing the percentage of Louisville residents with no health insurance from 17% to 0%
  • Decreasing the lung cancer death rate in Louisville from 63.9 per 100,000 population to 57.1 per 100,000 population
  • Decreasing the percentage of Louisville adults who smoke from 32.1% to 29% and decreasing the percentage of Louisville adolescents who smoke from 14.8% to13.3%
  • Decreasing Louisville’s infant mortality rate from 7.5 to 6.75 per 1,000 live births
  • Decreasing the percentage of Louisville adults who are obese from 29.3% to 26.4%, and decreasing the percentage of children who are obese – from 24.2% to 21.8% for 6th graders and from 17.9% to 16.1% for kindergartners.

Healthy Louisville 2020 also makes specific policy recommendations to achieve these goals. Some of the recommendations found in the report include:

  • Adopt a National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI) for Louisville. NSRI is a voluntary public-private partnership that would establish measurable goals aimed at reducing the salt intake of Louisville residents
  • Implement the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) restrictions on the use of artificial trans-fat in fried foods and prepared baked goods served in all permitted food service establishments
  • Increase the state cigarette tax, which has proven to decrease smoking initiation among teens and pregnant women
  • Increase smoking cessation services for expectant parents
  • Restrict sale of e-cigarettes and hookah products to minors
  • Implement a system to monitor Body Mass Index (BMI) through the required school physical exam for children entering kindergarten and 6th grade
  • Encourage primary care providers to prescribe structured physical activity regimens that include specific recommendations for the frequency, intensity, and type of exercise to patients who are at risk for overweight or obesity.

Healthy Louisville 2020 is not simply a strategic plan for the Department of Public Health and Wellness,” said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “It’s a shared community agenda to guide behavior and decision making for residents, city officials, community organizations, academic partners, business leaders, and the faith-based community over the next six years.”

Healthy Louisville 2020 employs a “health-in-all-policies” approach to improve the city’s health. The approach considers the health ramifications of all government policy, particularly in such areas as community design and land use planning, housing, transportation, education, and fiscal sectors. The main focus of the health-in-all-policies approach is to put health at the heart of the public policy process and to further evidence-based policy making.

“Becoming a healthier city will entail putting public health at the very center of our public policy decisions,” said Dr. Nesbitt. “Maintaining good health is easier when the entire community is surrounded by environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice. We need to consider health in all our policy decisions.”

The entire Healthy Louisville 2020 report is available by clicking here.